I continued to ignore the building smoke as I prepared the rest of the meal, until the security system alarm started going off. Apparently it has a smoke detector portion as well, and the chicken-smoke had set it off. I punched in the code to cancel it and returned to my range top. I kid you not, less than a minute later it went off again. This happened at least 4 or 5 times, and then the security monitoring center called the house to ask if everything was OK. This call was fragmented since apparently when your alarm goes off (and it kept going off while I was trying to talk to the guy), it cuts off the call. That's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. When I finally assured the guy everything was OK, he said he'd cancel the fire department call, but they were already outside. I was still in the kitchen but I heard the fireman laugh when my husband explained the situation, saying, "Oh, she can't cook, eh?" To Bill's credit, he defended my cooking skills.
Happily, the evening worked out well, but as the fire truck was pulling away from our house I had a moment where I felt completely and hopelessly inadequate. My child was screaming in terror from the impossibly loud alarm, my dinner looked to be burning, and I was in tears. I feel fortunate not to have more of these moments, but pardon my diction when I say they suck big time.
As I was writing this post, my husband had turned on the oven to heat a frozen pizza, and the alarm started going off again. Apparently the infinitesimal bit of drippings on the oven floor gave off just a hint of smoke...so now I can't use my oven. Lovely. Sigh.